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Alex Wright

Egypt claims no journalists detained for 'doing their jobs'

Egypt is currently incarcerating 18 Egyptian journalists; the highest number since record keeping began [Getty]

Date of publication: 3 August, 2015

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Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry has claimed that no journalist has been detained for plying their profession, stating that the current imprisonments are for their links to terrorist groups.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry dismissed allegations of constraining press freedom, following the wave of arrests of journalists in the country.

In a press conference on Sunday, Shoukry claimed that the current imprisoned journalists had been detained for their “links to terror groups”.

“No journalist is in prison or facing trial related to their work as a journalist. They are accused of having links to terrorist activity,” Shoukry said.

He added, “They are all in the state of due process by a competent judicial authority and are being afforded all forms of defence to deal with the charges against them. None of these journalists are being held for anything they have said in relation to their profession as journalists.”

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, Egypt is currently holding the highest number of journalists behind bars since record keeping began, with most accused of affiliation with ousted Islamist leader Mohamed Morsi.

One journalist behind bars for their “links to terrorism” is Yara Sallam, a young human rights lawyer. Sallam has been in prison for over a year for "violating" Egypt's draconian anti-protest laws.

Photojournalist Mahmoud Abou Zeid, known as Shawkan, has been detained for more than 700 days without being charged. He was arrested in August 2013 for covering the military raid on Rabaa Square, which left around 900 pro-Morsi protesters dead and more than 3,000 injured.

Egypt recently revised a controversial article of its proposed anti-terror law threatening journalists with jail for reporting anything but the official line on militant attacks, instead replacing it with a hefty fine.

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